Browned Butter Banana Bread

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Hey y’all. Sorry about the hiatus. You know how things go; sometimes you can get it together enough to crank out a post, other times it just doesn’t happen.

But I made it happen today, in more ways than one.

A little over a month ago, I used browned butter for the first time in a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. It was a huge success. I knew right away that I would definitely be finding a way to incorporate browned butter into my baking repertoire for other classic recipes.

And now, I’m glad to say that I’ve found another great way to do just that.

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I don’t know anybody that doesn’t like banana bread.

I don’t know if I want to know anybody that doesn’t like banana bread. It’s just one of those things that we can all probably agree upon and bond over.

Besides that, I think we all can relate to our trying to be health-conscious and whatnot, buying a huge bunch of bananas, then letting them sit on the counter for days on end, just chilling until one day we look up and bam: they’re too spotty and soft to be able to eat anymore and we feel the guilt for not eating them raw when we had the chance.

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Don’t feel bad. We’re all guilty of it.

But as we all know, overly ripe bananas can become a blessing in disguise because of what they can be transformed into. The easiest and probably most popular of these, is the almighty banana bread.

I’m not gonna lie guys. There really aren’t many tricks or frills to this recipe. It’s quick and stupid-easy to put together, and although I briefly considered doing something different to jazz it up, like adding a pecan streusel or drizzling an icing on top or something, ultimately I decided against it and decided to just let things be and keep it simple.

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I actually ended up very pleased I didn’t add anything else to it, because what really makes this recipe shine is the inclusion of the browned butter. It’s what takes this from being an ordinary loaf of banana bread and elevates it to something really special. Like I described in my chocolate chip cookies post where I first used it, browned butter has a very rich, nutty and toasted smell/flavor. My best way of trying to describe it is that it takes standard flavors in a sweet dish, and deepens them. There’s a noticeable toasted, caramelized taste to them that once you’ve tried, you just can’t get enough of.

I thought that I loved chocolate chip cookies before, but trust me: I love them even more when they’re made with browned butter. Same thing here.

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The ingredients for banana bread are usually ones that most people already have in their fridges/pantries already, so that means most of you have no excuse not to go ahead and do yourselves a favor by making this loaf, stat.

The smells it’s going to create when you make the browned butter AND bake the loaf alone were made for autumn. When it’s finished, don’t skip the step of taking the extra browned butter and brushing it over the hot loaf. It’s going to seep into the crevices of the  crumbs and when it dries, well…all will be revealed and suddenly made clear to you.

Slice the bread up thick. Put it in the toaster for a few minutes. Pop it out. Slather one side in butter. Cinnamon honey butter if you’re really feeling adventurous.

You’re welcome.

Bringing this loaf to this week’s Fiesta Friday #140, co-hosted this week by  Julie @ Hostess at Heart and Linda @ Fabulous Fare Sisters.

Browned Butter Banana Bread

Recipe Adapted from Food Network Kitchens

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and either butter or spray a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Melt and heat the butter over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. You want the milk solids to turn a deep golden brown color. It will have a nutty and toasted smell and there should be small golden brown bits in the surface. It’ll take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.

Stir the brown butter so that any of the golden brown bits that may have fallen to the bottom are distributed equally throughout the butter. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the brown butter for later on.

Whisk together the remaining brown butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl, then fold in the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula or a fork.
Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined (the batter doesn’t have to be completely smooth, a few lumps are fine).

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan, and bake until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Take the reserved browned butter (reheat in the microwave to re-melt if you have to) and using a pastry brush, brush the butter over the hot bread, letting it seep into it.

Run a knife around the edges, and let cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Jumbo Banana Cookies

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When I was really young, there was this song that came out by the R & B singer Monica, called “Don’t Take It Personal (One of Them Days)”. The chorus goes like this:

“It’s just one of them days
That a girl goes through
When i’m angry inside
Don’t wanna take it out on you
Just one of them things
Don’t take it personal
I just wanna be all alone
And you think i treat you wrong”

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 As someone who writes in her spare time, I can usually come up with something pretty witty/interesting to begin a post with, no matter if it’s random, awkward or even self depreciating. It’s usually my goal to do so anyway- I know we’re all mostly here for the food, but it doesn’t hurt to say a little bit more about anything.

However, that’s just not going to be the case for this post. As my girl Monica says, it’s just “one of them days.” Long story short, on a scale of 1 to 100, today (and the past few days to be honest) were…definitely not 100. Or 80. Or 50.

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When these kinds of days happen, my propensity towards creativity is virtually nonexistent. It’s difficult for me to even say much of anything to anybody in real life when I get like this, so my online communication skills are also kinda taking a hit. I did try to come up with a witty, interesting post. I tried. But I just got nothing for you guys today. It just wasn’t working. I finally threw up my hands and decided to just post and let the recipe and pics speak for themselves.

Please don’t take it personal. It’s just one of them days. Hopefully I’ll be feeling better next time I post.

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This recipe was actually a follow up to the Banana Bread Scones that I made earlier. I had a couple of leftover bananas, so I just decided to make another dessert with them. Waste not, want not.

I”m very picky when it comes to my cookies. I know what I like and what I don’t like and there’s usually not a lot of wiggle room allowed. It’s pretty simple really: I like them thick and I like them soft. And iced- I actually love them when they’re iced. Because as I keep telling my sister Ashley, life is just better with icing.

I must say, these banana cookies did not disappoint. Thick, soft and and yet sturdy, I would have to say that they’re like a much denser & slightly chewy banana bread that still manages to just melt in your mouth. I think you’ll like them should you decide to try them out.

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Jumbo Banana Cookies

Recipe Courtesy of Allrecipes.com

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  •  1/2 cup shortening
  •  1/2 cup butter, softened
  •  1 cup white sugar
  •  2 eggs
  •  1 cup mashed bananas
  •  1/2 cup evaporated milk
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  •  3 cups all-purpose flour
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 cup chopped walnuts
  •  2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  •  2 tablespoons butter, softened
  •  1/4 cup evaporated milk
  •  1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Directions

1. Cream together shortening, 1/2 cup butter, white sugar.

2. Add eggs, bananas, vanilla, 1/2 cup evaporated milk and vinegar and mix until light and creamy.

3. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to other mixture. Add nuts.

4.Chill dough one hour in refrigerator.

5. Drop by teaspoonful on greased cookie sheet about two inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 15 minutes. Let cool then, frost them.

6. To Make Frosting: Mix 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar with 2 tablespoons soft butter or margarine, 1/4 cup evaporated milk, and 1/4 tsp vanilla. Beat until soft. Spread on tops of cooled cookies.

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Banana Bread Scones

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Hi. My name is Jess(ica).

I’m here because I used to be a coffee addict. Actually, no, that’s not true- I guess I still am technically a coffee addict, I’ve just gotten better at controlling my need for it. There came a time when I HAD to have some form of coffee every day just to function; sometimes I could take it straight, sometimes I wanted it in the fancy gourmet styles from coffee shops.  I didn’t care. I just wanted coffee. I needed it.

It took a while for me to hit rock bottom, to finally realize that my addiction to coffee was getting out of control. I wish I could say that I had this grand epiphany or moment of clarity/acceptance, but the truth of the matter is that I just finally got tired of spending $28 a week on the stuff at coffee shops and knew that I had to make a change. It wasn’t easy in the beginning. The caffeine withdrawals were rough; chronic headaches and irritability are a lethal combination, or so I found out. However, I pulled through- at first going cold turkey, then tapering back on to the point where I can have some form of coffee a couple of times a week without feeling as though I’ll go crazy without it.

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So yeah, for anyone out there still being affected by coffee addition at present: recovery is possible. And it doesn’t even have to mean that you give it up forever. You just gotta find a balance. Most times, when you think you need it, you don’t and you can pass. And sometimes…maybe the situation’s a little different.

For instance: there are some instances where a cup of hot coffee is a must. There’s no way around it. I certainly found that to be the case for this recipe. Aside from the profit that their over-priced drinks bring in, I’m pretty sure that a huge chunk of Starbucks’ money comes from the pastries that they display smack dab right in front of the customers in those glass cases. How many people can go in to buy a cup of coffee there in the morning without even stealing a longing gaze at the delectable cinnamon rolls, pumpkin bread, muffins, scones and other goods that Starbucks sells? I’m not one of them, that’s for sure.

I just had to clarify 1 thing: this picture is to scale. This bad boy is actually that big.

This recipe is actually one I’ve had pinned on Pinterest for a long time now. Scones was something I’ve never made before, but have always wanted to. They’re the quintessential accompaniment to coffee- hot, buttery and crumbly pastries of deliciousness. The only thing that could possibly improve them would be to add a unique flavor and ingredient…enter the bananas.

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You guys, even before I tasted them, I just knew that these babies were going to be sosososoSOOO good. I mean come ON: look at how fat and thick the scones turned out. See those flaky layers? It’s the cold chunks of butter that does that. Chilling the dough in the freezer was the secret weapon for the scones, I’m convinced. I think it’s something that I’ll definitely be doing for any future scones to come out of my kitchen, as well as for whenever I make biscuits. The glaze just sends them over the top. This recipe is one of the best, most satisfying that I’ve tried, and I highly recommend it.

Oh yeah…and the scones are even better when enjoyed with a cup of coffee. Just sayin.

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Banana Bread Scones

Recipe Courtesy of TheKitchn.com

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 very ripe bananas (about 8 oz or 1 cup once mashed)
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk, whole or 2%
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) plain yogurt, whole or 2%
  • 2 1/2 cups (12.5 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

For the glaze:

  • 1 tablespoons (1 oz) salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) milk, whole or 2%
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 cup (2-4 oz) confectioner’s sugar

 Directions

1. Mash the bananas and then add enough milk to make one total cup (if necessary). Stir in the yogurt and set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Cut the butter into several pieces. Work it into the dry ingredients using a fork, pastry cutter, or your finger tips until there are no pieces of butter larger than a pea.

3. Pour the banana-yogurt mixture into the bowl with the flour and stir just enough to incorporate all of the flour. Fold in the walnuts, if using. This will make a fairly wet dough.

4. Line a dinner plate with a piece of wax paper and turn the dough out on top. Pat it into a disk about 1-inch thick and cover with another piece of wax paper. Freeze the scone dough for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

6. Peel off the top layer of wax paper and invert the scones onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Peel off the second layer of wax paper. Slice the scones into eight wedges and pull them apart a little to give them some room to expand. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the scones are firm to the touch and turning golden-brown on the edges. Cool completely and cut apart any scones that baked together with a sharp knife.

7. To make the glaze, melt the butter and the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar and vanilla, and stir until the sugar has melted (heat for an additional 30 seconds in the microwave if necessary). Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar, starting with 1/4 cup. Add more confectioner’s sugar if desired to make a thicker glaze.

8. Just before serving, drizzle the glaze over the scones.

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Orange Spice Banana Bread

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It seems strange for me to think of now, but there was a time when the thought of cooking really and truly intimidated me. The idea of actually cooking something that wasn’t a pre-made mix, or didn’t involve using the microwave was crazy. I knew that the raw meat that I saw my mom, grandmother and older sister buy from the grocery stores ‘somehow’ turned into delicious cooked dinners like fried chicken, roast, stews, and stir fries- but I didn’t have a clue how it was accomplished.  Baking was a complete enigma filled with things like measuring cups and spoons, ovens, cake tins and flour- things I didn’t want to have any part of, for fear I would mess something up.

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Cooking became to be almost like math to me- I was in awe of the people that were good at it, but was fairly convinced that it would always be something that was completely beyond me. It was something that I would only embarrass myself at when attempting to do,  and that try as I might, I just didn’t get it.

It didn’t bother me at first, but when I got older and went to college, it did. I know that this may sound anti-feminist or sexist, or whatever politically incorrect terminology that you want to use, but not knowing how to cook began to make me feel like ‘less’ of a woman. That’s not to say that men can’t be great cooks (I know some myself) it’s just that I come from a line of traditional Southern women and in my family, the women cook. And they cook well. Not being able to share in that tradition kinda got under my skin for a while, until one day I just decided to swallow my insecurity and try to do something about it.

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I remember when I first started to really try to learn how to cook, my mom told me that cooking boiled down (no pun intended) to one all inclusive rule: follow a recipe, then when you get confident in your knowledge of ingredients and spices, change it to whatever you want. So that’s what I did. And I practiced. A lot. I wish I could say that there was more to it, but there really wasn’t. Beginning cooks just need to stick to those 2 rules, and you’re bound to get good: practice, and follow recipes. Then when you get comfortable enough with spices and ingredients, do whatever you want with them.

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This bread is a prime example of those rules. I had a bunch of brown bananas sitting on my table that I knew I didn’t want to let go to waste, but I wasn’t in the mood for straight banana bread. I wanted to do something a little bit different. I also happened to have a small bottle of orange juice in my fridge, and the idea of bananas with oranges was an interesting flavor combination to me. I found a recipe on Taste of Home that seemed to suit my purposes, but I still wanted to add more flavors to the bread to give it a kind of ‘kick’. So I decided to add in some spices that I would normally see in a spice cake- ginger, cardamom and coriander- and hoped for the best.

It was a winner. In fact, even now as I am writing this post, I’m rather pleased to announce to all of you that the bread you see in the pictures is now completely gone. It’s been devoured by my appreciative family. Not gonna lie, I’m a little irritated seeing as I only got one slice out of the entire loaf. But there’s always the option of making more, isn’t there?

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Orange Banana Bread

Recipe Adapted from Taste of Home

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1-1/4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract or orange oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

Directions

1. In a bowl, combine the sugar, oil and eggs; mix well. Stir in bananas and orange juice.

2. Combine the dry ingredients; add to banana mixture, beating just until moistened.

3. Pour into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans.

4. Bake at 325° for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.

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